SOURCE: Consumer Reports "It's clear that online dating websites play a major role in the lives of many consumers — we invest a tremendous amount of time, money and emotional energy.

Amy Giberson, now 34, was reluctant to try internet dating again but she decided to give it one more shot in 2014. There are a slew of sites and apps to help singles find love and, for the most part, they work, according to Consumer Reports.

She downloaded the Match app and connected with Justin Pounders, also 34, almost immediately. Nearly half, or 44 percent, of those who tried online dating said it led to a serious long-term relationship or marriage, the magazine found.

Overall, respondents preferred free sites like Ok Cupid, Tinder and Grindr over paid sites like Match and e Harmony, in part because of the value.

The now infamous infidelity dating site Ashley Madison, which was one of the most expensive, was also the lowest-scoring online dating service, with a score of 37.

The two decided to meet "IRL" (in real life) days later. Traditionally known for reviewing products like household cleaners and washers and dryers, Consumer Reports surveyed nearly 10,000 subscribers in the fall of 2016 about online dating and then rated matchmaking sites based on their overall satisfaction.

Months after their first date, the couple discovered they had been classmates in preschool, and one year into their relationship Justin arranged to have the young students from their former school hold up signs that asked, "Will you marry me? How to boost the odds with a better profile: Use recent pictures (taken within the past year) and at least one good close-up headshot.

Online dating use among 55- to 64-year-olds has also risen substantially since the last Pew Research Center survey on the topic.

Today, 12% of 55- to 64-year-olds report ever using an online dating site or mobile dating app versus only 6% in 2013.

More than half, or 53 percent, of single people have created a dating profile, according to Match's recent Singles in America study, which polled over 5,000 single men and women in December.